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Updated on 09/15/2011 2:03PM
A CLOSER LOOK at Belmont races on 9/20
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Returns to racing in conditioned ranks after taking on graded foes in her last two, which were her first two races against winners; the drop in class will help her cause a great deal, but concerned some about her getting the extended distance; shows some endurance works to prepare.
Failed as the favorite last out, and traffic in the stretch cost her some; traffic is always a concern for late-runners, and note she must again negotiate a full field; like that she is stakes-placed, and that last fall she was beaten less than two lengths by Fantastic Filly; forms tough entry with Extra Fancy.
We know she can get the extended distance; last out she was in command at this distance before going on to an impressive win at 1 3/8 miles; concern is that the average runner tends to regress in their first start against winners, but her biggest asset is experience at an extended route; can share.
Bailey teams with second half of Frankel-trained entry; like that she gets back to racing around two turns and on turf, as her best races on form came under those conditions; also like how well she has been working and that she is an older runner facing younger; looks capable under top class rider.
Ran a respectable third last out in her first start against winners; she shows a nice maintenance move since that race, and while she has never raced over an extended distance like this afternoon's route, like that she shares the same sire as Zoomer, whose last win came at an extended distance; consider.
Regressed in her first start against winners last out and that is something the average horse tends to do; barn changes things up with the move to an extended distance, and late-runner might respond to the added ground; she also gets a nice break in the weights with an apprentice on board.
Last race suggested she might be starting to come back around; she started her career on a high note, but has struggled since; like that she was closer that she has been in a while last out, and that she adds blinkers; could be set to fire a strong race in her third start back from a layoff.
Broke her maiden at this afternoon's distance, so we know she can get the trip; her last two have also been run over an extended distance, but she has just run average races so like to see that barn changes things up some this afternoon with the addition of blinkers; looks like a leading contender.
After two strong races against winners, she is asked to get an extended distance this afternoon; given the late run she put in last time, she might appreciate the extra distance; she also gets some stamina support from her sire, who won at 1 1/4 miles on dirt when he won the Kentucky D.; win candidate.
Southern Calif., shipper ran a respectable third at this level in her last start, and has since spent the past two months on the sidelines; works for her comeback are endurance-minded, and should she get the extended distance, she seems like one who is sitting on a breakthrough race in the U.S.; shares.
Entered for the main track only; she has proven best on dirt, and should this race go on the main track it will give her a chance to test her skills at an extended distance, which is something her pedigree supports; also like that she is an older runner facing younger.
With two wins to her name, that makes her the winningest runner in the field, and there is something to be said for that; must respect the fact that one of those wins came against wide open claimers, and were she to have a flashback to that race she would be dangerous; coupled with Zoomer.
- Mary Rampellini
Did she hint at a quick cycle up at the Spa or did 6yo really run the same race twice?; you only have to look at even-terms finish with Northern Streak last time to realize how closely-matched this group really is; she's the only one to have met both Offtheturf & After You - could be the benchmark in race that shapes up as rematch between those two fields; at least Samyn commands the hedge today rather than the third wheel outside last time at the Spa; mare's affinity for the Widener course comes into play; necessary trifecta factor today with a slight chance for all.
Grab it and go theft attempt under Chavez two prior went a tick too fast to the half to stay around late; Arroyo choose stalking pattern 18 days ago at the Spa and that didn't work either, stacked up in the second tier behind Riotous Miss; maybe the giving ground offers mild excuse; but that's four starts this year against the same faces yielding only the minor show ticket; seems destined for the margins after mild pace engagement.
Don't scold the Lady just because of her Mountain roots; despite nominal recent form and 0 for 6 blank spot so far this year, 7f Spa tune-up figures solid prep for turf stretchout; 5yo was actually entered against T.N.T. Red in that Aug. 22 50k turf route but opted for later dash - interesting; Levine had been knocking on the door since opening day, and Chop-Chop had phenomenal early-meet seconditis streak going; useful Sun. breeze noted; want to reach out to her in local bow but still needs improvement.
Appears ready after strong bid-and-miss effort at the Spa; that grass battle featured four distinct lead changes after Bailey endured too much pace pressure on heavy favorite Just a Ginny; but with just one win on her last 23 starts, serious win play requires leap of faith at a fraction of that 14-1; worth noting Velazquez's three wins were all courtesy of dynamic pairing with Shug runners; hate to admit we're lured by the career-low tag from a filly who has sufficient kick if Johnny can hold her together; but better box that exacta.
Caboose trip behind T.N.T. Red came as just a mild surprise; Mig couldn't get her out inside hole; looking back, 5yo likely would have bounced to the moon anyway even if in the clear; the key question is will she rebound over a course she loves?; answer that and you have your direction; it's possible, given her ability to advance with impressive sweeping far-turn move at her preferred distance (5 for 10); lively connections, but you'd want most of that 8-1 again as a cushion to find
out for sure; inclined to try to beat her today.
Comebacker has some hurdles here; went to the bench after fallow spring campaign; shut out of the exacta in 10 tries over this course; work tab is steady but on the slight side; Meche had good Saratoga meet with the success of his main patron Asmussen; but this one would come up as a genuine shocker; later.
Took the worst of traffic jam that last the better part of a mile last time; probably merits a brief glance in rematch here; chart comment more promising than the running line - "raced wide, put in a three wide run on the second turn"; and she beat My Approval with patient stalking move at this exact trip back in June; yet the key attraction for a small flyer on high-percentage mare would be if she retains the fat double-digit odds; one for the pure contrarians.
Of all the wild trips from that Aug. 22 Spa group that raced as a pack from start to finish, her's was the plainest; she waited inside, admittedly against a crowd, but never hinted at firing big; that came on the heels of splitting the field against Gayle's Glory, who in win-or-bust rebound mode today just might get cut out of the exacta; which makes this 4yo very difficult to like; going with others.
Despite threatening position on several occasions, 7yo has settled for mere nibbles with these same faces for three months now; that's a long summer of good efforts without a lot of reward; and it's not quite as conceivable she'll inherit the lead again with this crew cutting back a sixteenth to the turn and a half of the Widener; be thereabouts throughout, but couldn't play for more than potential tri kicker at a price only bordering on any value.
Prado goes here over Emociones? intriguing; yet it's nearly impossible to build a bucket of confidence in 6yo after mildest of Finger Lakes preps yielded dull N1x Spa trip at 29-1; maybe she didn't like the marathon; now it's third start off the layoff, sure, but stop-and-start career hasn't fired for more than a slice since June of 2000; late work?; if Edgar can get 6yo to build a head of steam and come out of nowhere for the surprise, it'll be without support from here; wait one more.
Was nearly out of the money chances when Velazquez persuaded her to give one last try outside after After You had put the race away; note that a similar change of tactics here in June behind Gayle's Glory preceded solid runner-up status to Emociones; yet that foe has work to do here; must balance this grey filly's low win percentage with her ability to invade exacta as ticket-ripper; tricky call if gets in.
Lauren's Hot Dance
Spa set not all bad, but fails to persuade; turf record not quite up to her main track ability; and shouldn't 5yo really have prevailed for 25k to like her chances on the rise?; claimed away from Contessa and switched to the lawn make 5yo harder to appreciate in this deeper spot; can't really find the race that beats these; not today.
Made amends 13 days ago under the lights at the Big M facing thinner 25k field than the one she encountered at the Shore; went favored twice in Jersey off bold place bid at the Spa to Gayle's Glory back in July; yet we know that mare has not-so-hidden obstacles today; 4yo not accustomed to putting peak efforts back to back; and while acknowledging Tagg at a price in NY always tempting, this should be the time to take a stand against if she gets in.
With a real chance of rain in the forecast, the MTO trio deserve a look right now; two of them have the capacity to change the outcome of this route should the race come off the turf to a muddy main; unfortunately, she's not one of the two; N3L Philly lifers left her in mid-pack at 3-1 just 19 days ago; sure, she might have needed the seasonal return trip; but not at all encouraged about wake-up call in this spot; keep looking.
While if this race stays on the lawn, it's basically a rematch battle between the 50k Aug. 22 Offtheturf crew versus the 40k Sept. 2 After You bunch, if it comes off the grass, it could easily evolve into a rematch of this filly against Doublecomet and their July 8 war of attrition here going nine panels in the goo; both have the necessary gate hustle to cross over, particularly this 4yo; recovering well from tough break; yet also eventually folding odds-on to the pressure of Doublecomet; yields recency to that foe but prefer the speed be fresh anyway; praying for rain.
Gets the last spot on the MTO train, but is Santos' only call in the race; filly seemed to lose interest when trapped rating behind a ridiculously slow pace last time at the Spa - forgivable; go back to when she offered surprise pace pressure to Authentic Caller here three prior, eventually prevailing for exacta slot after those two perfectly set the plate for Doubly Devious; ironically, this race may be more approachable if turns into romp in the slop; only Lady Buckingham brings any off-track ability from the turf crew; player in the goo.
- John Garry
Bred to be nice horse, colt got an educational jaunt at Keeneland and has every right to improve; drills are steady for sharp barn, don't be shocked if this guy runs a smasher.
Cold as ice on board in troubled debut, runner didn't improve much on the distance and surface switch last time; back going short, would expect colt to be far off the pace early on; has work cut out.
Limited data on sire with firsters; dam's other foal to race won his debut as a sophomore; dam could run; she won 4 of 12 races and banked $118k; not impossible task.
Ben's Good Deed
Sire at about 11% with debuters in a 136 horse sample according to DRF stats; both of dam's foals to race have won at least twice, Kirtons was 2 for 5 as a juvenile including a win in the Damon Runyon at the Big A; dam herself was a multiple stakes winner, won 9 of 38 overall, banked almost 400 grand; respect.
Bothered at boxcars in upstate debut; fact he was so cold on the board has to be factored in to a turn around; has the Rice horse to deal with again; not thrilled with chances.
Saw all the heels when a triple digit price in debut; works at Finger Lakes since don't exactly get the heart pumping; needs a total reversal of fortune.
Trained well for debut, was no secret at 1-2, looked like a dead short horse; Bailey sticks, trainer super with young stock, this colt has worked steady and fast upstate since; looms one to deny.
Sire at about 1% with debuters in a 60 horse sample according to DRF stats; dam's 3 foals to race are a combined zero for 37; drills are nothing special; may want to watch one.
Sire has hit with 6% of his debuters in a 108 horse study according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; this is dam's first foal to race; dam herself was stakes placed in Canada, was one for 16, earned $45k; West Coast strongman in boot but pedigree seems lacking.
Limited data on sire with firsters; this is dam's first foal to race; dam herself was only one for 31 as a racer, and she earned $60k; drills at the shore not exactly breath taking; would lean toward others on top.
Got a bit of a rude awakening to the game upstate when beating only one horse; at least he's got a local work under his belt; tough to see the change in venues able to account for double digit defeat.
Sire at about 13% with debuters in a 123 horse sample according to DRF stats; 6 of 7 of dam's foals to race won, none as juveniles; dam was unraced; trainer good with state breds, live rider up, can't dismiss.
Limited data on sire with firsters; all 5 of dam's foals to race won; one won at 2; the best was probably Belongs Fast, who won over a 100 grand in 19 starts; Jersey drills just okay; outside if scratches are kind.
No disgrace in debut loss; runner kept to task and has every right to improve; trainer proving he can succeed wherever; carefully placed, should be in the thick of it if allowed to run.
Commands respect; runner walked out of gate, finally settled, finished on own courage in debut debut; good barn helps, and local moves are decent; keep an eye on this guy.
Sire at about 5% with debuters in a 55 horse sample according to DRF stats; 6 of 9 of dam's foals to race won; 2 were multiple winners at 2; the best sib was Flawless Melody, who won over 200 grand in a 62 race career; would expect runner to improve with more furlongs.
- Brian Mulligan
Guns for 3rd straight score but is up in class after a short rest; this guy had decent trips in both 2001 starts and now the inside post could prove somewhat tricky given that others have more early foot; wonder how much horse will have to be used early and also how much will be left for the end; can see him on your ticket if you're going a bit deep in this one.
Beat similar in last local start but this guy hasn't been a model of consistency over the years; barn won one early at this stand and note that this guy was back in vs. allowance runners last time; distance cutback may prove troublesome if he's unable to stick with faster sprinters in the early stages; like others more.
Spent some time on the Saratoga rail and he didn't seem to like it at all but the runner was competitive in 2 starts on this course earlier in the year; he sure didn't respond to the recent barn change via the claim; recent works have been solid and this one owns some tactical speed; improvement likely.
Went a perfect 5-for-5 at Monmouth and this dude's career batting-average is a thing of beauty; love his speed and the fact that there isn't much to stand between him and the early lead; hoss can stalk or set and you may see some relative value given the move to a tougher circuit; he's gonna take some beating.
Raced evenly vs. allowance types in recent prep and the runner has been competitive vs. claimers for a much higher tag; this is another with good tactical speed and 'Madness would move up if it rained; jock knows him well and this one rates exacta respect.
Moved from west to east back in May and was a winner vs. similar in first local start; post near the outside should enhance his chances but he'd need pace help for best outcome; only wins since '99 happened narrowly; like others more.
Draw a line through that last experiment and then note that this runner is back in for a tag today; not sure just how much early foot he has but at least today's post keeps him in the clear; it's been a while since Vodka kicked it in late and for that reason others seem more promising.
- George Cottrell
Was 17-1 vs. this kind and finished dead last, beaten more than 25 lengths, in her debut at Sar; returned to work OK after that race and draws the rail today, but she would have to improve very sharply to be a threat in this spot.
Stalked the early pace and finished 2nd at 5-1 in her debut at Del; her speed figure in that race is lower than others here have posted, and these rivals are probably tougher than she faced; her rider, however, is off to a quick start at the meet.
Is winless in eight starts, but she does have a 2nd, a 3rd and two 4ths to her credit; is coming off a brief vacation and she posted the highest speed figure in this field under similar circumstances June 3 at this track; raced wide in her last four starts and might need to save some ground to beat this field.
Didn't hit the board in five starts and all of those races were vs. softer than she faces here; her best effort was a 4th vs. MSW foes at FL in her last race and she finished far back vs. state-bred MSW fields twice at Aqu; hasn't started since May and would have to improve many lengths to get any part of this purse.
Is a firster by a sire whose progeny run very well early and is out of a mare that produced four foals, three to race, including a stakes winner of $153K to date and a stakes-placed earner of $60K to date; works are just average, but his one could be ready to run a big race at a decent price.
Dueled for the lead early while racing wide, opened a nice lead in the stretch and faltered late to just miss in her debut at Sar; is bred to be a nice one and posted a solid speed figure in that race; gets Lasix today, appears to be the only early speed and should be very tough to catch.
Our Majestic Cat
Raced greenly and finished less than two lengths behind Ens Alwojood in their debut; she was a shorter price than that rival and closed several lengths in the stretch; she should appreciate the added distance of this race and will probably be very tough to keep out of the trifecta.
Makes her first start of the year today and shows four local workouts, none especially fast; she was 30-1 and 40-1 in two races last year and finished 6th and 5th at this class level; is bred to be a decent sort and may have improved since last year, but if she did, it doesn't show in her works.
- Paul Skelton
Made short work of 3-year-old fillies at Philadelphia Park after falling a neck shy in Bensalem in her prior; her races on this circuit have not been as sharp, however, and there has to be some question as to whether she fits with these; this is a short field but there's some talent here; seems likely she'll find these to be much tougher than she's been facing out of town.
You and I Babe
One of only a pair of 4-year-olds in the field (Royal Banquet is the other); she's been steady of late, and now makes her 2nd start since the claim by Scott Lake; she was game in defeat last time under similar circumstances, and with this inside post she figures to get a great trip, given her tactical speed; this is a short field but a case can be made for nearly any one of them, this one included.
Threw a clunker last time, in very early August, and hasn't been out since; she's had success over this track, running 2nd four times and 3rd once, but she hasn't been able to win, no surprise considering her overall record; in fact, both wins came via good trips, one a perfect set-up behind a quick pace and the other when she was loose through moderate fractions; others look better, though some players will probably look to use her "underneath."
Look of the Lynx
She's faced some nice fillies along the way; faded last time after pushing the pace but she can also rate, and she seems better suited to racing just off the lead and making a run; the fact that she has lots of layoff lines is a bit of a concern but she has run well off short breaks in the past; very dangerous on her best, as she figures to be in a good spot behind the speed.
She's been away for quite a while, just about 10 months, to be exact; she hammered entry-level allowance runners before trying stakes company, and she held her own against the likes of Astrapi and Xtra Heat; obviously something went amiss but she's been training steadily for her return, and she couldn't be in better hands; big threat here, although it does seem she needs to be on the lead to run her best.
Off the board last time, the first time she's been out of the money in 6 career starts; she put a hurtin' on AN1X sprinters in her prior start but weakened last time when unable to sustain her mid-race bid; has the speed to stay close to the leaders here, no small advantage in a race lacking a clear-cut pacesetter; another who fits in an interesting if somewhat puzzling sprint.
- Kenny Peck
Sing It Out
Fact he freaked in the slop in local debut can't be under estimated; 4 clear in best try vs. winners, maybe he just didn't care for Spa strip; published works for this on light side, can't totally dismiss any runner from this barn.
Mon Come King
Rode rails to victory on inner strip for first win, then drew off from $25k sellers on the stretch out for other score; humbled in all his attempts at this level; tough to see it.
Went to the head of the class while losing ground in the lane in only win; no kick in grass debut, now runner is back at best trip; colt hasn't shown any speed vs. winners and he's hooking some other heat here; has to hurry.
Dixie Two Thousand
Trainer had an awesome meet at Monmouth; this guy has not made any mistakes yet; he's shown versatility, gameness in first win vs. winners and the ability to put down the hammer in the drive in last 2 scores; place horse 8/19 returned to run fourth, beaten a length, in a N2x spot at the shore; this runner looks live.
Face it, he's done his best work vs. claimers; the good news is that place horse Real American, exited 8/22 race to win a $35k seller here 9/9 at 9-1; runner drew off for fun last time despite getting bothered at the start; figure rider to send hard; can't toss.
This guy does love Belmont; that gives him a legit shot; his best stuff has come for a tag and runner seems one dimensional; the bad news is there is other speed in the field; have a gut feeling he's going to get fried.
Who was he facing in California?; Tech Two exited 7/16 race to run off the board twice since; Sure Man exited 8/15 race to win at Fairplex 9/9 in a $32k starter as the chalk in a romp; runner likes to get late, lost ground in drive in only start, and seems to lack killer instinct; still, can't eliminate.
The race kind of sets up for him with plenty of speed in the field; he's run well off the vacation in the past and did it for this pilot; could easily be enticed into using in gimmicks.
Go Bam Bam Go
Looks like the long fused half of the Dutrow entry; would have to figure other half to send hard to help this guy; caught the slop last time when the hood was added and note he was troubled in upstate bow; could be set to show best effort. Mr. Kuck Was life and death for only win when allowed to control pace from post 2 on inner strip; it took this guy awhile to break his maiden; popped and stopped in other attempt in this league; could be looking at a similar fate.
- Brian Mulligan
Nice N3L win at SAR, and among her victims was today's foe Orphan Avie; won 3 of her last 4, with the only loss coming to monster Flute going 9fs - the other 3 wins were all sprinting; finds a middle ground here going a mile and with her speed could be scary all the way around - but Descapate and 'Ellen pose big hurdles; respect.
Racing above her conditions but considering she's looked monstrous so far maybe she's not biting off too much; romped by 11, under wraps last time; it's a new track, tougher foes and just her 3rd start but there's no telling how good she might be - but do you want to find out at a short price considering all the hurdles?
Euro big shot didn't deliver when put on the turf in the U.S., but may have found a home on dirt; good try to G1 SW Secret Status last time, finishing ahead of a very nice People's Princess; has tactical speed, plenty of class and the mile certainly suits; huge threat.
Faltered in a MTH stakes when last seen, so Arnold gave her some time; there's some quality here, though her N1X and N2X wins don't exactly knock your socks off; also, she's done little in 2 starts here and this spot may not be a whole lot easier than the Serena's Song at MTH; mixed feelings.
Unable to handle Shiny Band 2 back, but that day she dueled inside and gave way late; came right back to win nicely from just off the pace; that style can give her a nice trip here, though will she be as effective going 1m as she is going 7fs? unbeaten here, too; worth a long look.
Unable to threaten in her 2 tries at this level - and this spot looks even tougher than what she faced in her 2 other N3X tries; 0-for-6 local mark doesn't get the pulse racing either; outsider.
There's some quality here - ignore the CCA Oaks debacle; those foes are too good, and the trip too far; given plenty of time since and her previous races were quite good, and note they came here at about this trip; well drawn to use her speed and she's 3 for 6 here; dangerous - so long as that's the form she's going to return with after being gone a couple months.
- Michael Hammersly
He's disappointed as the choice in his two most recent starts, but he certainly didn't disgrace himself in those events either; he's got speed and an inside post, and it doesn't hurt that he has Bailey at the controls.
He finished on the heels of Brocco Bob at a big price when last seen, and he'll square off against that rival once again here; he doesn't boast much early zip, but it looks like the pace should be honest at the very least in here.
Turnback in distance looks like it should suit this colt, as his only win came sprinting vs. a solid rival in Farmer Jake; Davis sticks so can't count out.
Got the job done in lifetime start number eight when last seen, and he made it look easy as he opened a clear advantage before reporting home a 4 1/4-length winner; makes 1st start vs. winners, but a repeat of last can have him the hunt for barn that has been known to record a few winners at this time of the year.
Late running colt will have his work cut out for him as usual, as he tends to leave himself with a lot to do late; needs a swift pace for best chance.
Battled it out on the front end before prevailing when last seen, and it looks like the addition of blinkers was at least partially responsible for the improved effort; Lewis, and Castellano have had good success together, so must respect.
Another in here who appears to have benefited with the addition of blinkers; like the way this colt overcame a less than ideal start before moving on to victory, and the fact that Prado lands here adds to the appeal.
Has yet to have much of a say through the lane in two starts back from a long layoff; switch to Santos could be viewed as a positive, and perhaps third start back will prove a charm.
Poor lifetime mark makes it tough to have confidence in this colt, and his last three starts haven't been much to look at; prefer others.
Went after 25k claimers in most recent outing, and reported home an O.K. 3rd; steps back in with state-bred rivals today, and can factor in on a top effort.
Strike The Brass
Adds some speed to the equation, but it's tough to have confidence in him to lead this group every step of the way off 1 - 16 lifetime mark; recent works are nothing to get excited over, so passing on him this time around.
1 - 23 lifetime mark is tough to overlook, and this 4-year-old hasn't been out since April; works have been steady coming into this, but tough outside post doesn't help.
J S Mosby
Needs to see a scratch from the main body of the race in order to compete, and he'll be faced with breaking from extreme outside post; he usually finds his way into the mix, but will need to work out a manageable trip if he's to have a say for the top spot.
Will run as an entrymate to Strike The Brass if he gets in, but will need to avoid getting caught wide around the turn, in a large field, which may prove a difficult thing to do; looks up against it.
- Brian Pochman